Commission on Audit

COA: Over 500 sacks of rice for pandemic-hit Samar families unaccounted for

Jazmin Bonifacio
COA: Over 500 sacks of rice for pandemic-hit Samar families unaccounted for

CAPITOL. The facade of the Samar provincial capitol.

Samar Public Information Office Facebook page

The Commission on Audit says this is due to the provincial government's 'poor monitoring and accounting of the distribution'

The Commission on Audit (COA) has flagged the provincial government of Samar for over 500 sacks of rice intended for pandemic aid in 2020 that were “unaccounted [for], lost, or missing.” 

COA said in its 2020 audit report on Samar uploaded on its website on July 12  that this happened because of the provincial government’s “poor monitoring and accounting” of the rice distribution.

The 589.65 sacks of rice amounted to P737,062.50.

COA said that in March 2020, the Samar provincial government purchased 30,400 sacks of rice from National Food Authority for P38 million.

This was supposed to be distributed to 553 affected barangays with 120,712 families, as part of the provincial government’s pandemic relief operations.

The audit showed that of the total sacks of rice purchased, 30,396 sacks were directly given to cities and municipalities , thus leaving four sacks unaccounted for from the outset.

Of the 30,396 sacks, only 30,054.75 were set for distribution by the municipalities and barangays to the beneficiaries, leaving another 341.25 sacks unaccounted for.

Of the 30,054.75 sacks that were to be distributed, only 29,810.35 sacks were acknowledged by the beneficiaries, leaving an additional 244.4 sacks of rice unaccounted for.

COA Regional Director Lita A. Estil-Diez enumerated her significant observations in a letter dated May 31 to Samar Governor Reynolds Michael Tan.

“The province’s poor monitoring and accounting of the distribution of 30,400 sacks of rice, in the total amount of P38,000.000.00 to 553 barangays or 120,712 families/ beneficiaries, contrary to pertinent provisions of PD No. 1445, resulted in unaccounted, lost or missing 589.65 sacks of rice with equivalent amount of P737,062.50,” she said.

Under Section 2 of Presidential Decree 1445, Section 2, “all resources of the government shall be managed, expanded or utilized in accordance with law and regulations, and safeguarded against loss or wastage through illegal or improper disposition, with a view to ensuring efficiency, economy and effectiveness in the operations of government.”

COA recommended that the governor direct the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office to conduct an inquiry regarding its findings, and to submit the report, together with additional documents, to COA for further evaluation and validation.

In a letter to COA, the provincial accountant said: “In response thereto, this office will be making the necessary coordination with the focal person/department of the said program to undertake the necessary checking of supporting documents and reconciliations to validate discrepancies, and cause the collation and submission of the lacking supporting documents.” –